Entries Tagged as 'diy'

July 6, 2015

beauty diy | night magic potion

Sometimes, some of our favorite, precious oil blends are just too easy to DIY.

There. I said it.

Whether we do or don’t DIY depends on our patience (looking at myself); availability of necessary ingredients; appreciation for beautiful, branded goods; or some other personal nuance that makes us either excited to do a little mixing or totally turned off.

Regardless of where you are on the DIY spectrum, I think it’s safe to say that many green beauty connoisseurs are looking for sophisticated ingredients to target their main skincare concerns and charming brand stories when they are ready to throw down some major money for a magical potion.

But when it comes to simple moisture in a pared-down routine? A blend of beautiful carrier oils and essential oils will do. Sure, they may not be the fanciest carriers out there, but if your main concerns are 1) moisture and 2) budget, there’s nothing better than a mix of luscious oils that can easily be used from head to toe.

As you’ll notice in the photo below, I chose to share my stock of organic argan oil (not mentioned in the ingredients list) and two essential oils that I love: vanilla and frankincense.

Be mindful when DIYing and/or straying from a recipe, though; essential oils are powerful, and you need to know how your skin will react. Always patch test!

With that said, please enjoy this excerpt from Natural Beauty Alchemy. In a pinch, you can create a wonderful evening oil to heal your skin.

Note: This is a not a series of sponsored posts. This book is wonderful, and I found the recipes approachable. I reached out to the publicist to get permission to share these recipes with you because I thought you’d enjoy them as much as I do!

natural beauty alchemy book night magic potion diy beauty recipe

Night Magic Potion

This “potion” indeed works like magic. It fights wrinkles, nourishes skin, and leaves a velvety touch in the morning.

While avocado oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, evening primrose oil is a powerful anti-aging ingredient that fights wrinkles.

Their efficacy is made complete with the addition of pomegranate seed oil, which provides a surge of antioxidants that protect from sun damage and promote youthful-looking skin.

Grapefruit or tangerine essential oil transforms the application of this potion into a pleasurable moment. The essential oils may be photosensitizing, however, so daily use of sunblock is strongly recommended.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon evening primrose oil
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 10 drops (0.5 ml) essential oil of your choice 
(grapefruit, tangerine or other)

Instructions

1. Mix the above ingredients in their listed order and transfer to a glass bottle with a dropper.

2. Make sure your face is clean, with no makeup residue, and still moist after cleansing or washing. Rub a few drops of this potion between your palms and pat your face and neck. Do not rinse.

3. Use every evening at bedtime. Store the bottle away from heat and light.

natural beauty alchemy book

Excerpted from Natural Beauty Alchemy Copyright © 2015 by Fifi M. Maacaron and published by W.W. Norton & Company Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

June 15, 2015

beauty diy | brightening apple mask

At any given time, my kitchen is always stocked with green apples. I love the tart tang of them on my tastebuds, and it’s only fitting that my skin also responds well to topical treatment with this perfect fruit.

A handmade approach to a popular green apple mask (which I also adore for its brightening effects), this DIY Brightening Apple Mask gently lightens and brightens skin — and smells quite fresh.

I like to use this mask after a weekend of fun in the sun, followed by a moisturizing coconut-infused cream that keeps my skin dreaming of the ocean and sunshine while repairing my skin before another full week at work.

This is the second excerpt from a new beauty DIY book, Natural Beauty Alchemy, that keeps me inspired to tap into my inner DIY goddess. (See the first recipe in this series!)

Note: This is a not a series of sponsored posts. This book is wonderful, and I found the recipes approachable. I reached out to the publicist to get permission to share these recipes with you because I thought you’d enjoy them as much as I do!

diy brightening apple mask

Brightening Apple Mask

This mask relies on the wonderful effects of fruits and is recommended for skin with blemishes or sunspots to reverse sun damage, especially at the end of the summer season.

Apples are rich in vitamin C, which is a documented skin-brightening agent. Citrus fruits are also supreme sources of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). When combined with cranberry seed oil, which is high in sun-protective antioxidants, these ingredients will reverse time on challenged skin.

Make this mask twice a week, for two or three weeks to unify skin tone, and always follow with sunscreen.

Ingredients:

  • gauze strips
  • 1 freshly grated peeled green apple
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon cranberry seed oil
  • 1–2 tablespoons rice flour
  • Note: Honey can be used instead of glycerin

Instructions

1. Prepare gauze strips by laying gauze in double layers and cutting four rectangles for the forehead and neck and four circles for the cheeks.

2. Mix the above ingredients, adding as much rice flour as needed to prevent dripping. Then spread the mix like sandwich filling between double gauze layers and apply to your forehead, neck, and cheeks.

3. Sit in a reclining chair and wait for 10 minutes before removing the gauze strips and rinsing your face with lukewarm water.

4. If bothersome tingling occurs, rinse immediately.

5. Always follow with a high-SPF (30 or more) sunscreen to avoid vitamin C–induced photosensitivity.

natural beauty alchemy book

Excerpted from Natural Beauty Alchemy Copyright © 2015 by Fifi M. Maacaron and published by W.W. Norton & Company Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

June 3, 2015

beauty diy | double c toner for acne-prone skin

In general, I’m not much of a DIYer. I get impatient, am heavy-handed and never seem to have the right ingredients on hand.

But every once in a while (typically late at night when I should be sleeping), the DIY bug bites, and I find myself mixing and matching my various straight green beauty ingredients to see if I can improve something I already own or whip up something fresh to address a specific concern.

This can be as simple as adding additional carrier oils to a basic shea butter to get a richer texture, or combining essential oils into a blend of carriers to make a body oil to suit my mood for the day.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing a few excerpts from a new beauty DIY book, Natural Beauty Alchemy, that keeps me inspired to tap into my inner DIY goddess. I hope you are inspired as well and come back to these recipes when you’re up for a little tinkering.

Note: This is a not a series of sponsored posts. This book is wonderful, and I found the recipes approachable. I reached out to the publicist to get permission to share these recipes with you because I thought you’d enjoy them as much as I do!

double c toner for acne prone skin

Double C Toner for Acne-Prone Skin

This toner is named for its two key ingredients: vitamin C and cider. The acidic nature of apple cider allows skin to get rid of surface dead cells, while the vitamin C in lemon juice is a skin brightener that also acts as a powerful antioxidant; it can reverse sun damage and reduce wrinkles, for a more youthful look.

Combined with the astringency of neroli and witch hazel in this formula, they will reduce oily secretions and help achieve a glowing and clearer skin.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ounces (60 ml) neroli hydrosol
  • 2 ounces (60 ml) witch hazel water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon glycerin
  • 5 drops grapefruit essential oil (optional)

Instructions:

1. Start by dissolving the honey in 1/2 cup water. Add the remaining ingredients one at a time, mixing continuously. Then transfer to a bottle.

2. Shake well before each use. Using a cotton ball, apply to the face and neck in the evening. Rinse in the morning and wear sunscreen daily.

natural beauty alchemy book

Excerpted from Natural Beauty Alchemy Copyright © 2015 by Fifi M. Maacaron and published by W.W. Norton & Company Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

 

June 20, 2014

beauty diy | cucumber rose sunburn relief

Probably one of the more fragrant and luxurious beauty DIYs I’ve come across, this Cucumber Rose Sunburn Relief recipe has me feeling all Cleopatra with coconut milk and roses.

Can we get much more luxe than that?

The third and final beauty DIY I’m excerpting from 100 Organic Skincare Recipes is one I’d use regardless of whether or not I had a sunburn. The skin-softening and soothing ingredients in the recipe could easily be incorporated into a weekly milk bath for your spa nights at home.

(You are having spa nights at home, right?)

Enjoy this final excerpt, and let me know if you’d like to see more excerpts in the future from some of my favorite beauty books!

Note: This is a not a series of sponsored posts. I really love this book and found the recipes approachable, interesting and beautiful. I reached out to the publicist to get permission to share these recipes with you because I thought you’d enjoy them as much as I do!

cucumber rose sunburn relief 100 organic skincare recipes

Cucumber Rose Sunburn Relief

You will want to have this cooling, fragrant, milky lotion on hand after a long day in the sun.

Store this concoction in the fridge and mist this soothing, moisturizing blend on a sunburn for instant relief.

The aloe vera and cucumber provide instant anti-inflammatory relief, while the rose and coconut milk offer skin-saving healing moisture to overexposed skin.

Yields: Approximately 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-size cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup rosewater
  • ¼ cup aloe vera juice

Tools:

  • Strainer or cheesecloth
  • 8-ounce jar with lid
  • Spray bottle

To Make:

Put the chopped cucumber inside a strainer or piece of cheesecloth and squeeze out juice. Pour the cucumber juice into a jar. Add coconut milk, rosewater, and aloe vera. Close the lid tightly and shake well to blend.

To Store:

Pour some of the mixture into a spray bottle. Reserve the remainder in the jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To Use:

Shake well before use. Spray affected areas as desired. Soak a soft cloth and apply as a compress for 10–15 minutes to affected areas.

100 organic skin care recipes

Excerpted from 100 Organic Skincare Recipes Copyright © 2014 by Jessica Ress, founder of Angel Face Botanicals and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photos courtesy of Jessica Ress, Diane Harrison, and Adams Media.

June 18, 2014

beauty diy | healing sunburn spray and compress

What’s the first thing you reach for when you suffer from a sunburn?

It’s likely a bottle of aloe vera (all-natural or not), and while no one can contest the effectiveness of aloe vera in soothing a sunburn, there’s a mess of other amazing natural ingredients that can help draw out the heat and ease the discomfort of a sunburn.

The second beauty DIY I’m excerpting from 100 Organic Skincare Recipes reminds us that various teas have the power to soothe and heal sunburns, too.

And yeap, there’s aloe vera in this recipe, too.

Note: This is a not a series of sponsored posts. I really love this book and found the recipes approachable, interesting and beautiful. I reached out to the publicist to get permission to share these recipes with you because I thought you’d enjoy them as much as I do!

Healing Sunburn Spray and Compress

Healing Sunburn Spray and Compress

There is nothing like a cool mist of this Healing Sunburn Spray and Compress to soothe your tender overexposed skin.

The green tea used in this recipe contains tannic acid, theobromine, and polyphenols — all of which are soothing and healing to sunburned skin.

In addition, yerba mate is a South American super-antioxidant that helps speed tissue repair.

With the addition of cooling peppermint and the skin healers chamomile and aloe vera, this concoction is sure to soothe the sting of a sunburn!

Yields: 1 quart

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups filtered or spring water
  • ¼ cup fresh peppermint leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh chamomile flowers
  • 1 tablespoon loose leaf yerba mate
  • 1 tablespoon green tea leaves
  • ½ cup aloe vera juice
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil

Tools:

  • Kettle
  • Large saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Strainer
  • Quart jar
  • Spray bottle

To Make:

Boil 4 cups of water in the saucepan. Remove from heat and add the herbs and tea, stirring with a spoon to moisten thoroughly.

Let the infusion steep for 15–20 minutes. Strain the herbs from the brew and pour into the jar. Place in the fridge and cool completely, 15–20 minutes.

Once the brew has cooled, add the aloe vera and essential oil. Seal the lid tightly and shake well to blend.

To Store:

Pour some of the mixture into a spray bottle. Reserve the remainder in the jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To Use:

Shake before use. Spray affected areas as desired. Soak a soft cloth and apply as a compress for 10–15 minutes to affected areas.

Helpful Hints

If you do not have access to fresh peppermint, chamomile, loose leaf yerba mate, or loose leaf green tea, substitute tea bags: 1 peppermint, 1 chamomile, 1 yerba mate, 1 green tea.

Make sure the tea bags contain only the pure herb, without any flavorings or additional blended herbs.

100 organic skin care recipes

Excerpted from 100 Organic Skincare Recipes Copyright © 2014 by Jessica Ress, founder of Angel Face Botanicals and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photos courtesy of Jessica Ress, Diane Harrison, and Adams Media.

June 16, 2014

beauty diy | yogurt lavender comfort body mask and bath

As we inch closer to the official start of summer, I’m anticipating long days by the pool and (hopefully!) zero sunburns thanks to meticulous sunscreen application.

However, let’s just be real and assume that at some point this summer, we’re all going to get a bit too much sun and need some relief.

Before you reach for a bottle of bright green “aloe” gel loaded with a billion other ingredients besides soothing aloe, consider a few great DIY sunburn relief options.

Throughout the week, I’ll be sharing a few excerpts from a great beauty DIY book that I’m obsessed with, 100 Organic Skincare Recipes, so you can have these recipes at the ready for when you need a little sunburn relief.

I purposefully chose these DIYs because they seemed within reach for even the clumsiest DIYer (aka people like me). The ingredients and tools needed for these recipes aren’t outrageous, and you probably already have a lot of it on-hand anyway.

It’s up to you to get mixing! Enjoy.

Note: This is a not a series of sponsored posts. I really love this book and found the recipes approachable, interesting and beautiful. I reached out to the publicist to get permission to share these recipes with you because I thought you’d enjoy them as much as I do!

yogurt lavender comfort body mask and bath

Yogurt Lavender Comfort Body Mask and Bath

Have fun slathering yourself from head to toe with this silky, cooling, moisturizing yogurt mask.

The natural emollients and lactic acid in yogurt provide a safe and gentle, nonabrasive moisturizing exfoliation.

Be sure to use full-fat yogurt, as your sun-kissed skin needs the extra moisture.

Yield: Makes a single use

Ingredients:

  • 1–2 cups full-fat plain yogurt, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • ¼ cup dried lavender buds
  • 2 or more cucumber slices, optional

Tools:

  • Measuring cups
  • Cheesecloth
  • String
  • Bowl
  • Fork

To Make:

Run a cool-warm bath, not hot. The cooler, the better, but it should be warm enough to sit in for at least 10 minutes.

Place the yogurt and baking soda in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Stir in the essential oil.

Apply the cool yogurt mixture to your skin from head to toe. Place the lavender buds inside of the cheesecloth to form a loose sachet, leaving room for the water to flow through and the buds to plump in the bath water.

Tie closed with a string and put it into the tub.

To Store:

Make fresh for each use.

To Use:

When the tub is full, get in and let the relaxation begin. The yogurt mask will dissolve off of your body and mingle with the lavender, creating a milky, moisturizing, relaxing elixir for mind, body, and spirit.

Use the lavender sachet as a soothing wash bag by filling with water and squeezing out over your sore, sunburned skin. Use it as a spot treatment and compress.

Place the cucumber slices over your eyes or directly on sunburned areas as a cooling anti-inflammatory treatment. Leave the yogurt on your face for up to 15 minutes.

Drain the tub and rinse off with a quick shower. Gently towel dry and generously moisturize while your skin is still damp.

100 organic skin care recipes

Excerpted from 100 Organic Skincare Recipes Copyright © 2014 by Jessica Ress, founder of Angel Face Botanicals and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photos courtesy of Jessica Ress, Diane Harrison, and Adams Media.

August 30, 2013

beauty secrets | coconut oil for beginners

My foray into natural beauty oils started with the beloved jojoba oil.

While I recommend it to anyone who is curious about oil cleansing, it’s now joined by my other favorite multipurpose oil, coconut oil, in my recommendations for a beautiful, multipurpose oil.

If you’re new to the natural beauty space, besides reading this blog (thanks!) and the loads of other great ones out there (see my blogroll to the right), another great resource specifically for coconut oil is “Coconut Oil for Beginners.”

(Pretty straightforward name, huh?)

coconut oil for beginners

{I received a review copy of “Coconut Oil for Beginners” and read it front to back in no time! It’s a great guide to this miracle oil and includes lovely DIY hair and beauty recipes as well as foodie recipes — count me in! It retails for $9.99 paperback and $2.51 for your Kindle. Curious about my favorite coconut oil? It’s from Tropical Traditions. (Smaller size here)}

While I wouldn’t consider myself a beginner in this space (been a green beauty lover since 2007), I still enjoyed reading “Coconut Oil for Beginners” because it’s written in an easy-to-digest way.

Below, I’ll give you a taste of what’s inside of this staple book. If you love what you read, scoop it up — it’s a crazy for $2.51 for your Kindle or $9.99 paperback!

(And hey, if you subscribe to my yet-to-be-launched monthly e-newsletter, you may get another bite out of this book … I’ve got some killer coconut oil recipes to share! See the right rail of the blog for the subscribe box.)

A Shopper’s Guide to Coconut Oil

In the land of coconuts, all oil is not made the same. Just as with other nut and vegetable oils, the quality of the product depends on the extraction process and whether or not the oil is refined.

As with all produce, pesticides and other chemicals are a serious consideration that lends even more confusion to the buying process. There are several different forms of coconut oil adorning your grocer’s shelf just waiting to be chosen, but how to choose?

Coconut Oil Buying Tip

When the term organic is applied to coconut oil, it only guarantees that the coconut palm or the oil itself wasn’t treated with any fertilizers, pesticides, or solvents that aren’t organic as defined by that country’s certifying organization. It doesn’t mean that the oil hasn’t been refined or hydrogenated.

Refined Versus Unrefined Coconut Oil

Let’s start with the two broadest categories, refined and unrefined, and then break it down further from there. There’s not only a difference in the processing of refined and unrefined oil, but also a significant difference in taste.

Unrefined Coconut Oil

This type of oil is exactly what the name implies: It’s left in the natural state after it’s pressed. You may recognize this type better by its more common name: virgin coconut oil.

Virgin oils are generally going to have a richer, nuttier flavor, and they will maintain the full nutritional value because they haven’t been subjected to heat that can kill the delicate enzymes.

Unrefined coconut oil has a shelf life of up to two years and a relatively high smoke point (the point at which taste and nutritional value degrade) of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Refined Coconut Oil

There are several reasons why coconut oil may be refined.

First and foremost, refining removes impurities or chemicals that may have been used during the extraction process.

The second reason for refining coconut oil is that it increases the smoke point so you can cook with it at higher temperatures without it burning and degrading.

Finally, refined oils don’t carry much coconut flavor, if any, so refining makes the coconut oil a more versatile product.

Refining isn’t always bad; there are modern ways to do it using steam or diatomaceous earth (a soft sedimentary rock used as a filtration aid) to cleanse and purify the oil.

Do your research before purchasing a refined coconut oil, so you know what you’re getting!

Other Processes that Affect Nutritional Values

If you’re using virgin or unrefined coconut oil, none of the following terms will be an issue, but if you want to use a refined oil for, say, frying foods without imparting a coconut flavor, then you need to be aware of the following processes in order to make an informed choice.

Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized (RBD)

Although this sounds like something that you’d do to your gym shoes after a long run, it’s actually a common practice with fats and oils. Many oils go rancid quickly or are extracted with chemicals that can be harmful.

Also, if the oil has gone rancid, a deodorizing process will be used to mask the smell. As you can probably guess, this process isn’t exactly good for you or the oil.

Hydrogenated Coconut Oil

In an attempt to increase the melting point, refined, saturated fats such as the ones found in coconut oil are combined with hydrogen particles to make them more saturated and thus more shelf stable.

Hydrogenated coconut oil is used when you need a more solid product, such as when making cake icing. This process threw coconut oil under the bus with the rest of the unhealthy fats back in the 1960s because hydrogenation causes the formation of trans fats, the bad boys that cause heart disease and other potentially deadly disorders.

Avoid hydrogenated fats, if you can.

Fractionated Coconut Oil

Sometimes the medium-chain triglycerides are separated out of coconut oil for specific purposes.

Generally, fractionation is done for medical, cosmetic, dietary, or industrial needs. The triglycerides can be used as a nutrient in specific situations, so most likely you’re not going to encounter this at the grocery store unless you’re at a specialty athletic store.

Excerpted with Permission, Rockridge Press

Do you use coconut oil? If not, what oils do you prefer? Tell me in the comments section!

 

November 5, 2012

beauty diy | 3 easy ways to defeat dry winter skin

While it may not officially be winter, the constant changes in weather are wreaking havoc on my skin.

To keep my skin free of dry patches, scales and flakies, I’m making exfoliation and oil application top priorities pre- and post-shower. Here’s the three things I do to defeat dry winter skin.

how to defeat dry winter skin

1. Dry Body Brushing

You may already use a loofah in the shower, but did you know that brushing your dry body is extremely beneficial?

In Ayurvedic medicine (an ancient Indian system of natural healing), dry body brushing is recommended for improving blood circulation and releasing toxins from the skin. In addition to these internal benefits, dry brushing obviously helps your skin slough off the dead layers that are clogging your pores and keeping your skin from looking supple and moist.

I’ve been using the Earth Therapeutics Purest Palm Body Brush, which the company sent for me to review, for the past month. The Japanese palm fibers are thick and dense, and while it took me a bit to ease into dry brushing (it is a little bit too much at first!), I have come to appreciate this pre-bath ritual.

Here’s how to dry brush your body:

1. Before you get into the shower, relax and take the brush in long, sweeping strokes, up the fronts and backs of your legs. (I like to concentrate on the backs of my thighs to help loosen up any toxins and fat that may want to bust out as cellulite!)

2. Apply light pressure on body parts with thin skin or where you just may be a little more sensitive. For me, this is my chest, armpits and stomach.

3. Apply more pressure on body parts with thicker skin (bottoms of feet!) or where you think you need to loosen up more toxins (booty!).

If this is a bit intense for you, you can also do this in the shower with a wet brush and body. However, I’d highly recommend trying the dry brushing method pre-shower to really break out blockages and stimulate your lymphatic system. Once you get in the shower, it’s all about the massage!

2. Abhyanga Massage

After you’re finished with your dry brushing, hop in the shower — but don’t douse yourself in water just yet.

Instead, break out your sesame oil (or olive oil or whatever you fancy) and place the bottle underneath the warm, running water to heat it up a bit. Now, it’s time to bathe yourself (pre-bath) in a warm oil massage.

Abhyanga massage, also a tradition of Ayurveda, keeps the skin-stimulating benefits of dry body brushing going, except now you have a luxurious layer of oil upon your body to calm your system and moisturize both your joints and your skin.

The abhyanga massage routine is similar to that of the dry brushing routine — simply rub the oil all over your body, in circular strokes with firm pressure, to help eliminate waste from the body and deliver moisture to the skin.

After you’ve oiled yourself up, relax. Take 5-10 minutes and allow the oil to sink in before turning on your shower and getting on with your bathing routine.

3. Exfoliating Scrub

So now that we’ve dry-brushed and oiled-up, the last thing you can do in the shower to help defeat dry winter skin is apply a homemade, natural exfoliating scrub to give your skin a final shot of oil while taking off any remaining dead skin cells.

If you opt to use the exfoliating scrub in the shower after dry brushing and the abhyanga massage, you can most likely skip the post-shower shot of oil that I usually recommend. Your body should be mega-moisturized and ready to brave the elements after all this!

How do you keep your skin supple during the colder months? Do you opt for oils, lotions, creams or what? Tell me your tips in the comments section!



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